Hedrick, Davis differ in partnership idea after splitting races

WEST ALLIS, Wis. -- U.S. speedskating rivals Chad Hedrick and Shani Davis again flashed a budding admiration for each other Saturday that has come to replace the bitterness that erupted between them at the 2006 Turin Olympics.

Hedrick edged Davis in a 5,000-meter race after Davis had beaten him earlier in the 500 at the U.S. Long Track Speedskating National Championships.

After Saturday's 5,000, Hedrick spoke with Davis during the cool-down laps about possibly training together.

Hedrick said he considered it an ideal scenario, while Davis said it could give an edge to a "talented" competitor.

"I would like to do that on a daily basis," Hedrick said. "I'd like for him to find a way to train with me and, for me, to find a way to train with him."

Davis was not convinced.

"No way. He's too good," said Davis, a Chicagoan who trains in Milwaukee. "I'm no dummy. He is a competitor in distances that I compete in. As talented as he is, it's too dangerous for me to help anyone else that I have to compete against."

Skating in the same pairing Saturday, Hedrick won the 5,000 in 6 minutes, 26.76 seconds, well off his Pettit Center record of 6:16.23 set on Oct. 26. Davis was second in 6:28.07.

Davis and Hedrick were also paired in the 500, which Davis won in 36.03. Hedrick was second in 36.61.

Davis, who won gold and silver at the 2006 Winter Games, declined an invitation to skate for the U.S. in the team pursuit for those Olympics.

Hedrick, who took home gold, silver and bronze, criticized Davis for that decision. Separate training regimens and locations present major hurdles for speedskaters.

"If him and I want to go and dominate in the next Olympics, we've got to swallow our pride and start to work together," Hedrick said Saturday.

Hedrick is from Spring, Texas and trains in Utah.

"He's made a lot of steps to open the doors to me, and I think we're working together right now," Hedrick said.

Davis said that if Hedrick skated strictly 5,000 and 10,000 races and he skated 1,500 and 1,000, then he would be all for it.

"But, he crosses into my realm and there are things I do naturally well that I have to keep my strength," Davis said. "I have to compete against him. It's too close."

Slow, frosty ice kept the times down on the first day of the four-day meet at the Pettit National Ice Center, where skaters are chasing U.S. titles and spots on the U.S. World Cup team.

Nancy Swider-Peltz Jr. of Wheaton, Ill. won the women's 3,000 in 4:17.21. Three-time Olympian Catherine Raney-Norman of Salt Lake City was second in 4:19.25. Kelly Gunther of Waukesha, Wis., won the 500 in 40.89. Ashlee Barnett of Lino Lakes, Minn., was second in 41.55.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.